Outerbike Test Sessions: Ibis Ripley LS

Playful 120mm 29er that's long, slack, and built for fun

29er All Mountain Trail Outerbike Test Sessions

Interbike Mtbr

This well-sorted bike did everything well, and looked good doing it.

This well-sorted bike did everything well, and looked good doing it.

Editor’s Note: Mtbr welcomes longtime forum member Kent Robertson to the front page. Kent — or KRob — has been riding and evaluating bikes for two decades. This year, he and testing partner Ben Slabaugh headed to Moab, Utah, for the annual Outerbike consumer demo event where they rode as many bikes as possible. These posts are first ride impressions only — not full reviews. However, they stand by their opinions, and feel like they are good at feeling out the true identity, strengths, weaknesses, and soul of any given bike. For each session, they attempted to get set-up and suspension as dialed as possible. Test rides usually last 30-60 minutes. All bikes are then rated on a scale of 1-5 for visual impression/looks, climbing ability, descending, cornering, general agility, fit, and an intangible factor. Lowest possible score is 7. Highest is 35.

Check out the entire Outerbike Test Sessions archive and see all of Kent’s First Ride Reviews.

I’ve been trying to get a ride on the Ibis Ripley LS since it was announced last year. We loved the original Ripley we rode two years ago. It was nimble, responsive, and just loved to stand and hammer. Here’s a link to our review of that bike.

The beefed up boost spaced rear triangle was stiff and tracked straight.

The beefed up boost spaced rear triangle was stiff and tracked straight.

It was a tad short in the cockpit and a little steep in the head angle, but was so fun to ride we were willing to overlook these faults. It was the first 29er we’d ridden that made us want to, gasp, ride a 29er. Well, at least, until we heard about the geometry updates on the longer and slacker LS. With a degree and a half slacker head angle and 1.5″ longer front center and slightly lower bottom bracket, it sounded perfect for some aggressive all-trail shenanigans.

Other frame updates include improved internal cable routing, increased tire clearance, a return to threaded bottom bracket, seat mast lowered by 1/2” to accommodate today’s longer droppers, boost 148mm x 12mm Shimano through axle, and stiffer eccentric cores.

This wide, aggressive, updated cockpit was very comfortable.

This wide, aggressive, updated cockpit was very comfortable.

Out on the trail the first thing that was apparent is that the Ripley LS has not lost the fun, playful, quick-handling nature of the original. It still bobbed and weaved through tight, curvy single track with a nimbleness usually reserved for smaller wheeled bikes. The longer wheelbase did not seem to slow it down in the curves. The size large frame, flat wide bar, and short stem created a perfect seated and standing environment from which to do business.

It felt comfortable, yet still allowed for an aggressive, head-over-bars position for weighting the front wheel when leaning into corners. The few short climbs we did on our test loop were dispatched with ease, usually standing and just staying in a taller gear and hammering up. Once pointed downward, the LS was confident and tracked through rocks and chunder with confidence and stability. For just 120mm of travel the rear end felt surprisingly controlled and plush.

Never been to Outerbike? Find out what this consumer demo event is all about.

LS = long and slack. Not as long and slack as some, but Ibis struck a nice balance while updating the Ripley to a more aggressive geometry. The new Fox 34 Factory fork is fast becoming a favorite.

LS = long and slack. Not as long and slack as some, but Ibis struck a nice balance while updating the Ripley to a more aggressive geometry. The new Fox 34 Factory fork is fast becoming a favorite.

Frame construction appeared top notch and looked gorgeous. The rear end was stiffer than I remembered from the original thanks to the new beefed up boost rear triangle. The Ripley, like most Ibis bikes, is a clean, uncluttered design. The new cable routing looks intuitive and was free of rattles. The threaded bottom bracket was free of squeaks and creaks.

We were really impressed with the Ripley LS. It is a well-sorted bike that did everything well, and looked good doing it. The ideal buyer would be someone looking for a light, responsive all-trail 29er that feels more like a 27.5 while popping and playing, yet still displays those desirable 29er traits on rolling, up and down trails, and in choppy, rocky momentum sapping terrain.

Outerbike Test Session Score: 33 out of 35

For more information visit www.ibiscycles.com.

About the author: Kent Robertson

Kent Robertson (better known to Mtbr forum users as KRob) is just a guy who likes to ride. A lot. Kent’s 52 and has been riding mountain bikes for almost two decades, though he says his love of two-wheeled conveyances began when he was 5. His favorite trail type is any, be it fast and flowy, steep and chunky, or jumpy and droppy. Even a mellow bike path cruise with his wife makes him happy. “If I’m on two wheels it’s a good day.” Kent calls Ely, Nevada, home, but he’s ridden all over the western U.S. from Moab and Fruita, to Tahoe and Oregon, to a bunch of places in between. And while Kent focuses on the ride more than the bike, he’s ridden and tested a ton of bikes and knows what makes for a good ride — and a good bike. You can read more from Kent on his personal website, www.stuckinthespokes.com

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  • Phil Jones says:

    Any word if it can fit the new 2.6” 29r Nobby Nics, my god that would be amazing!

  • JH says:

    Looked to me like 2.4 max was about all you could get in the rear before rubbing would present an issue

  • Starre says:

    What about pedal strikes? At BB of 12.8″ there must have been something going on.

    • Tom says:

      +1, would love to hear something about that.

    • AJ says:

      Hi, I’ve owned the Ripley LS for a couple weeks now. Pedal strikes are not an issue at 20% sag. I had a couple strikes on the demo bike at ~25% sag. Regardless of setup the BB height might be too low for your downhill trails.

    • Don says:

      Not in the back, for the front it depends what fork you’re running. I believe they fit fine with an MRP Stage. I might try them in the spring, but my 2.5 DHF are so good I’ll need to wait till I wear them out.

      Re: pedal strikes, running a 140mm fork is highly recommended (by me). I was getting a lot of pedal strikes with the 130mm when I demoed it at Outerbike. Moab has some terrain uniquely suited to providing many pedal strike opportunities though as well. Since switching to the 140 fork on my own bike (yeah, I got one after demoing about 7 different bikes) pedal strikes are rarely an issue.

  • JBG says:

    I have 2.35″ Nobby Nic on the rear (2.35″ Hans Dampf in front) on my LS and I think that’s all you need… It takes a lot to wash out with that tire size/combo. (been riding loose, rocky, dusty Colorado trails all summer)

  • MBR says:

    Have an XL LS Ripley [I’m 6’1″ and 168#]. Bumped out the fork from 120 to 140 and then back to what I think the sweet spot is, 130 mm. With proper sag, pedal strikes are less of an issue than I had with my old Mojo. Used the Ripley LS to campaign 12, 24 hour endurance races last year and finished the AZT 300 and CTR. An amazing do-it-all bike.

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